I knew it would happen, eventually. The feeling has always been there, a gargantuan mass, just out of sight, the pull of it’s gravity ever tempting. Never quite taking me, but always looming in the recesses of my mind. It frequently tries to assume control of the cockpit of my mind, but I’ve had the strength to force it back. But for how long?
The problem is, I think I’m a Scanner. Sadly, not the type that can pop people’s heads clean off with just my mind.
The problem is, you see, I’m interested in EVERYTHING. The idea of specialising in one area, for the rest of my life, fills me with horror. There’s so much possibility. I want to try new things, to learn new things, to succeed and fail at different things.
Being this way led me to change the direction of my career after University and then again after a few years working as an accountant.
I will always enjoy trying new things, perhaps it’s the speed of improvement when trying something new or it’s simply the act of doing something different.
I enjoy being this way, embracing change. But it is at odds with the trek towards Financial Independence, especially in it’s current form (relying on keeping a steady high savings rate and investing in ‘index’ type funds). This Scanner personality type might just well be the slow suffocation of my steady march towards Financial Independence.
It could end up with me getting bored or the savings journey itself and looking to move onto something new.
Or I might end up actually following up on one of the whimsical new careers I fancy. Learning something new would be awesome, but it would seriously hamper my efforts at saving as it would almost certainly involve a serious slash to my earnings. Money isn’t everything, but it’s a fair chunk of the battle in the Financial Independence game, at least the version that I’m currently playing.
Too much choice
I’ve spent the last four years retraining in my new career (also the last couple of years realigning my financial habits) and I am just about starting to earn a qualified wage for what I do, which is nice.
But the feeling that joinery, or photography, or medicine, or running my own gym, or developing properties would be an interesting way to spend a few years is beginning to get stronger and stronger.
Perhaps it comes down to why you do a certain career. Is it because you have a passion for it or because you need to get paid. For most of us, it’s a mixture of the two. Lie too close to being in the game for the money alone and you will surely burn out.
The pace of learning in my career has dropped off steeply, and so too has the rate of any increases to salary. It would seem almost foolish to pull the plug now, to change my trajectory of my working life away from that future income stream to something smaller. At least for a few years I should reap the rewards of all those years of training I sowed.
Not sure exactly where I am on this (very technical) chart. I know, from past experience, when I lose interest in something it goes fast.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy what I do. It’s technical and interesting. Not once have I woken up and really not wanted to make the two mile walk or cycle to work. Some days have been more enticing than others, for sure. But I’ve never actually dreaded going in. Some days I really enjoy what I do, I get lost in the flow of technical work. Some days I’d rather drink gin and shout at pigeons in the park.
Not sure the paradox of choice applies to me, an outlier to be ignored. [Watch the video – it is great]
It just feels like there is something more interesting out there, somewhere. For some, Mrs Z included, there is a certain pleasure to be gained from repetition, or at least some comfort.
It’s going to be an ongoing battle for the next few years, pushing back the day dreaming of what else is out there to reap the rewards of prior years of training and study. A battle I’m privileged to have to fight. A battle that is less AK47’s, hand grenades and bayonet charging. And more a quiet, but determined and tactical argument, over a lovely cappuccino with a friend. A battle nonetheless, dammit.
But what is a crux in my accumulation phase, will be a benefit when I roll over the finish line into Financial Independence.
Hey, Fuck You, Money
Indeed, I am moving towards thinking of my savings as a ‘Scanner Fund’, rather than ‘Fuck You Money‘. Instead of a pot of money based around a negative (Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me) it’s built on a positive (Ah yes, I can do this, and this, and this, and this…).
Changing the mindset in this way raises an interesting question, does this change the purpose of the fund?
Initially, I always assumed I would work and save until some monetary target was met (all of my living expenses to be covered by my investments) and then, in the smoke of a celebratory flare I’d just fired skywards, declare myself Financially Independent. Next in the plan, to the abhorrent screech of smoke alarms, I’d flip senior management the bird and leap out the 4th floor window and deploy my parachute. I’d float gracefully through the air, to the back drop of red flare smoke pouring out the shattered window of what used to be my office, laughing manically while onlookers think “what a guy”. Got to have a plan.
Thinking of the savings as a ‘Scanner Fund‘ is the unlikely key to a different universe of possibilities. Should it be used as some kind of bridge, a fund to support my income, rather than supply it all? Then, using my new found monetary bridge, start trying a whole host of different careers. Apply your will to something hard enough and you’re probably going to start to make some money. Supported by the ‘Scanner Fund’, it doesn’t even need to generate all that much income.
Perhaps I get 50% of the way towards my fund allowing FI to be declared, I rebadge it my ‘Scanner Fund’, begin to drawdown on it and supplement the income with one of my new career choices. Perhaps as an apprentice joiner, amateur wrestler or writer, who knows.
A Scanner Fund would help to move income down the pecking order a bit, when it comes to choosing what we do for a living.
I’ve been locked into a certain mindset, that I need to be completely Financially Independent before trying something new. I’m not sure it needs to be that way. Sure, the above is inherently more risky. But we’re all smart people, we can make things work. It seems my 5 year plan might just be changing…
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